Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What have you seen and heard?

“Go and tell John what you have seen and heard” from Luke 7:18-23

John the Baptist was concerned and confused. His cousin, Jesus, was doing great miracles – miracles one would expect of the promised messiah. But the revolution was not being televised – yet. Where was the fiery reformer John was expecting?

So John asked the question, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”

Jesus’ answer was as authentic as he was, “Go tell John what you have seen and heard”. Jesus did not send a simplistic answer nor did he send a theological tome. He simply pointed to his works and his words. Jesus came with the works and the words of the kingdom and he both walked the walk and talked the talk. His lips and his life were perfectly consistent.

Which gives us pause for reflection - if we were asked, “Are you the church – the body of Christ, the hands, feet, and mouth of Jesus, or shall we look for another”, could we say, “What do you see? What do you hear?”

Can we point to our works and our words as validating our reality? We are called to be “on-mission” with Christ and our words and works should be self authenticating. That’s called “authentic”. That’s called “being real”.

So let the gospel come to you and through you to a lost, blind, and hurting world!

The well wisher of your soul’s happiness,
Pastor Tom

Stuff to click: Free worship music (with chord sheets!)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Asking God to do what only he can do.

Honesty is one of the reasons to love the psalms. The psalm writers share their hearts, bare their hearts, and know their hearts like nobody else. I was reading Psalm 119 this morning and was impressed with how well the psalmist knows his own heart deficiencies and calls out to the Lord to do what only the Lord can do:

I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart! (Psalms 119:32)

He wants to “run with the Lord” but he knows he lacks the capacity. So he cries out for a greater heart for the Lord!

Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! (Psalms 119:36)

He knows his heart is inclined to selfish gain, so he pleads for a new inclination!

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. (Psalms 119:18)

He knows his eyes grow dull and dim to God’s word, so he calls on the Lord to open them!

So, do you get discouraged with your own heart? Do you despair of every overcomcoming your own spiritual inertia? I’ve got good news for you. You can’t! You can’t change your own heart.

But that’s exactly what God does through the Gospel! He is in the business of doing what we can’t do.

So ask God to do what only he can do – change you from the inside out through the power of the cross!

The well wisher of your soul’s happiness,
Pastor Tom

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

When Christians disappoint.

Who do you look up to? Who do you put on a pedestal? Parents? Pastors? Missionaries? Friends? What happens when you get up close and see all the warts and blemishes? What happens when you see more of the “old man” than you do of Christ in them?

We often say, “don’t trust in people, people will always disappoint you”. But when it actually happens we are shocked and disillusioned.

What do I do with that discouragement?

You can let it remind you of the steadfast constancy and unchangeableness of God.

Thomas Watson, the great puritan theologian, contrasts the unchangeableness of God with the frailty of man:

See the vanity of the creature. There are changes in everything but in God. 'Men of high degree are vanity, and men of low degree are a lie.’ Psa 62: 9. We look for more from the creature than God has put in it.

Sometimes we just “look for more in the creature than God has put in it”. At the core we are broken, troubled people whom God is graciously redeeming, re-molding, and restoring to the image of Christ. Nothing is going to get in the way of that work (Romans 8:26-39).

But the process is long and hard and we are all at different places on the journey. And consider; could it be that you may have actually disappointed someone along the way? But please see the grace and patience of God with you as you stumble down the path. And pray for grace and patience for those who disappoint you.

The well wisher of your soul’s happiness,
Pastor Tom